When doing activities with your infant/toddler you don’t always have to do complicated activities or activities that require lots of materials. It is so important to provide learning opportunities in their everyday routines and play. This means activities that you do every day can turn into perfect learning opportunities and free play. So the activities you do over and over each day, like diaper changes, meals and bath time become the best opportunities to teach your little one. Each day we look for every opportunity we can to integrate sensory activities and learning into our kids daily routines and play. This is a fun idea I thought of one day after watching my daughter play with the laundry I was folding. I was folding clothes and had the basket sitting on the floor. She was playing on the floor and crawled over and started to pull up on the basket to pull out laundry. She has always loved holding blankets and basically any soft fabric up to her mouth and sucking on it to soothe herself. This replaced thumb sucking after her surgeries. She was pulling a variety of fabrics out of the basket things like our cotton shirts, soft sheets, rough blue jeans, soft fluffy towels. I loved watching her use her hands and mouth to explore these fabrics as she pulled them all out. Needless to say I didn’t get laundry folded very quickly but she was having a ball surrounded by all these fun fabrics. This gave me a great idea for a sensory exploration activity. Here is what we did the following day to extend the laundry texture activity.
I think we all remember playing in closets as little kids. Whether we were playing a game of hide and seek or taking shelter from a storm. Or for those of us who read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe many of us crept into our closets hoping to find a passageway to Narnia or some other mystical land. I can remember exploring my grandparents coat closet looking for treasures. We explored or hid during a game of hide and seek. As we hid we were surrounded by a large variety of textures and smells. My grandparent’s closet always smelled like old coats and leather. We often hid in my parents walk in closet during games of hide and seek. Their closet always held the smell of my dad’s air force flight suits and combat boots. I often played with one of my good friends at her grandma’s house. We often played in her grandma’s huge walk in closet playing with her fancy dresses and costume jewelry. Her closet held the smell of her grandmother’s flowery perfume and the feel of all her soft silk dresses. These are memories that have stuck in my mind based on the textures I felt and the smells that surrounded us. So for our sensory activity today Pip and I headed into the closet for some sensory exploration.
All you need for this activity is your closet and all its contents. Whether you have a walk in closet or a smaller closet like us this activity can be fun for you and baby.
Whether you’re closest is a small basic one like ours
Or you are lucky enough to have a big beautiful closet like this
You have so many textures and clothes to explore. We have baskets full of things like scarves and socks and shelves with sweaters and shirts folded on them. If your baby is very young hold them in your arms and run the fabrics over the baby’s hands, feet and face allowing them feel the different textures. Make happy cooing noises for younger babies for older babies let them get down on the floor and crawl over clothes or feel them as they pull up and crawl. Talk with them about how the fabrics feel such as “oh wow daddy’s sweater is so soft” or “mommy’s dress is very silky!!” Think of all the different textures you have collected in your closet. You have cashmere sweaters, cotton shirts, blue jeans, and super soft and silky dresses. You also have so many bright colors that are visually stimulating. Pip loves to touch and feel all her daddy’s Cardinal red and bright Bears orange clothes. If you are like me you have lots of soft scarves for baby to play with and of course some sparkly shirts and dresses. If you have really soft and fluffy clothes let your baby get down on the floor and roll and crawl on them. Most importantly have fun!! Sing with your baby, talk and laugh. Try tickling your baby with items such as your soft scarves or wrap her in her daddy’s warm flannel shirts. Let your baby walk or crawl under the clothes that are hanging this will give her visual, smell and texture experiences. Babies recognize the smell of their mommy’s and daddy’s almost instantly after birth so baby will know they are exploring a fun world that is very close to mommy and daddy.